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Increased Saskatchewan Hog Production Expected to Come From Empty Facilities

16 April 2015, at 10:35am

CANADA - The chair of Sask Pork says the bulk of any expansion in western Canadian hog production is likely to come from existing facilities that have been sitting idle, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Despite expanded US pork production as the result of an increase in the US breeding herd, combined with reduced losses from PED, there is an interest among western Canada's pork processors in increasing the number of hogs available for slaughter and processing.

Florian Possberg, the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says some individual packers would like to see more hogs to bring them closer to 100 per cent capacity.

Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:

Definitely we've had a pause in terms of new construction really since about 2006 and in fact even then there was not a lot of new construction so it's been a long time since we've had any significant new construction.

What's happened over the time period since then is we've seen the cost of construction go up quite a bit.

Part of that is just the heated economy here in western Canada.

Part of it is just strictly inflation in terms of building costs increasing so, when you compare what the building costs were when the last barns were built to what we would expect the current cost of building, there's quite a gap there. It's significantly more expensive.

Consequently any expansion has been focused more on bringing existing facilities back into production rather than new builds.

Possberg acknowledges new construction is needed to keep the industry vibrant and ensure long term sustainability and, while there has been some new construction in Saskatchewan, any significant expansion is likely to be from existing capacity that can be brought back on board.

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